This audio edition, featuring Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley's masterful narration, contains the complete text of Paramahansa Yogananda's life story, an absorbing account of a singular search for Truth. Yogananda describes his experiences with modern-day saints and illuminated masters of India, and presents a definitive introduction to the whole science and philosophy of Yoga.
© and (P) 1996, 2000 Self-Realization Fellowship
"A superb audio translation....Extraordinary work." (Library Journal)
"Ben Kingsley's smooth, articulate performance makes the formal writing style accessible to the listener." (AudioFile)
Paramahansa Yogananda’s book is an excellent and very approachable introduction to Hindu mysticism. Having both read the kindle edition and listened to the audio version, I highly recommend Ben Kingsley’s reading of this classic story.
That said, this autobiography is not a literary or historical work; it is a scriptural work. As such, it’s mission is to persuade the reader regarding the nature of ultimate reality and how the reader might best approach that reality. However well written, it must be subjected to the same scrutiny as any persuasive writing.
The narrative structure resembles that of the gospels, charting the life of an exceptional holy man from childhood. Along the way, he encounters supernatural beings and both observes and performs miracles. With the greatest respect for Yogananda’s work as a community organizer bringing the religious perspective of India to the west, I have four specific objections to his assertions:
1. Like other yogis, Yogananda presents his religious views as “science,” which they are not. There may be some scientific evidence that meditation contributes to a positive outlook (this has certainly been my experience), but there is none to substantiate the existence of the subtle body or the astral plane of existence.
2. The effort to present Christianity as a subset of the Hindu religion is strained. Are we really to demote Jesus to the status of a prophet and accept Yogananda equivalent?
3. The accounts of of siddhas (saints) and their siddhis (paranormal powers) would have us believe that there were saints in every neighborhood of Calcutta (and by extension in India). These are not ancient reports, and if such saints and powers were as frequent as the story implies, we ought certainly to have had numerous and continuing reports from other sources.
4. The detailed description of the astral planet to which Sri Yukteswar ascended is not consistent with historical yogic writings.
The book is certainly worth hearing and the philosophical musings about universal brotherhood and non-violence should be taken seriously, but this reader requires a bit more evidence before embracing Yogananda’s view of reality.
Blatant attempt to capitalize on naïve search for spirituality.
He's a great narrator.
Just trying to get this review posted.
I'm 30, usually broke or in debt, never cared much for religion, like Steinbeck and the Clash, a few beers with friends... I spend a lot of time wondering and wandering. I'm barely a month out from reading this book and it has already changed my life. No spiritual book has ever clicked with me the way that this has. Kindness seems easier--essential even. It makes me want to go deeper within, and without fear.
I had a very different notion of Yoga. This book was very interesting in its approach, the voice engaging with the right kind of modulations which made you listen and assimilate the book rather than glance through it
I wouldn't recommend this audiobook. I read the book once and Loved it, I didn't enjoy as much the audiobook.
I read the book once and I just couldn't stop reading it. It's a nourishing book for your soul. I was kind of disappointed by the narrator, I probably just expected a different experience.
Ben Kingsley's narration is clear and has just the right amount of emphasis to enhance the story without causing one to be distracted from the details.
The story of Paramahansa Yogananda's instruction in and evolution through Kriya yoga is inspiring and humbling. One does not need to be a practitioner of Kriya yoga to appreciate his story.
This book is a illustrates a complex relationship between one's soul and one's expectations where there are no limits. Yogananda is as faithful an individual as one could meet. Ben Kingsley brings a colonial tone that is priceless.
There are no surprises here. Life is for the living and is wonderful.
There is a palace of dreams that is flesh and blood and more.
I have been curious about all the things I hear from India, and have wonder what Yoga was all about. I started out with this book, and it really does open up a whole new world. Being born from the east, I have seen and heard many mystical things. But, after growing up in the west, I have started to forget all those and even started denying some of them.
This book helped me see the world from 'that' point of view again. It has also opened up a whole new world for me. I'm glad that all of these information are now available in audio form.
For those of you who are curious to learn more about Kriya, you might want to listen to The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam Explained (also by Paramahansa Yogananda), there is also Experiments in Truth (by Ram Dass). You will find some tips as to how it's done.
One of the books which made a difference in my life
exudes sincerity and spiritual messages
His voice gives life to the book, sometimes you feel as if Yogananda himself talks trough Sir Ben Kingsley.
Underneath the "simple" story there are many interesting lessons.
"A golden insight into the spiritual world"
An wonderful account of how the teachings of the world's religions fuse and interconnect into a singular spiritual message and truth
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